The desert offers a stark contrast, its dry air and hot sands a far cry from the relaxing sound of the sea. But it also holds something eternal in it. Spending time in stillness is how the desert speaks to the spirit. One place famous for this and which cultivates solitude in gratifying ways is the Painted Desert of Arizona. Miles of multicolored rocks and cliffs surround you as you drive past them with awe. There is an instant awareness of their age, for over 250 million years of geology are recorded in their strata. When you stop and get out of your car you can see the terrain for miles and can imagine it is a planet created before humans settled on it. There is an absolute solitude, and yet a feeling of profound connection to the earth.